Sderot Built on Ashes of Ethnically Cleansed and Defaced Najd
We often hear about Palestinian rockets hitting the Israeli town of Sderot. What is often left out of these reports is that these rockets almost never kill or injure anyone, and only rarely cause damage. In addition, as this article describes, Sderot was built on the remains of a Palestinian town that had been ethnically cleansed by Israel’s founders in 1948.
Sderot was settled by Jews in 1951. According to Walid Khalidi in All That Remains, it along with the settlement of Or ha-Ner, founded in 1957, were established on the village lands of Najd, which means "elevated plain" in Arabic.*
Najd's Palestinian villagers, approximately 620 in 1945, were expelled on 13 May 1948, before Israel was declared a state and before any Arab armies entered Palestine. According to UN Resolution 194 and also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, Section 2, the villagers of Najd have a right to return home to their personal property and to their native village.
Today, according to Khalidi, "some old trees grow" on the site of the village. It is "overgrown with cactuses and Christ's thorn and sycamore trees and contans the crumbled walls of unidentified buildings...."
There were 82 houses in Najd. Children went to school in Simsim, two kilometers away. According to Palestine Remembered the village has been completely "defaced."
In 1596 Najd's population was 215.
In 1838, Edward Robinson, an American biblical scholar "observed the villagers winnowing barley by throwing it into the air against the wind with wooden forks" [Robinson (1841) III: 260 as quoted in Khalidi 128].
Najd's villagers were mainly farmers and engaged in animal husbandry. "Fields of grain and fruit trees surrounded Najd on all sides."
Najd is fourteen kilometers from Gaza. Palestinian Arabs own 12,669 dunums in Najd although Israel refuses to honor their rights to their personal property, and refuses them their inalienable right to return home. In 1945 Jews owned 495 dunums of land in Najd and public lands consisted of 412 dunums.
Najd is one of 418 ethnically cleansed villages by Zionist Jews that Dr. Khalidi includes in his seminal work. Khalidi dedicates his book:
To all those for whom these villages were home and to their descendants.
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